Liam O'Brien

Untitled (Clean Skin)

2012, 2 min 03 sec


Liam O’Brien’s subversive performative video work Untitled (Clean Skin) explores aesthetic qualities of repetition and intimates aspects of Australian masculinity. With a dominant palette of bottle-green, this work references the nationalistic: Australia’s competitive sporting colours are green and gold. Beer bottle motifs conjure up an alcohol-soaked culture of sport and spectatorship; central masculine past times. As the subject ‘smashes’ the carefully ordered unlabled beer bottles one by one over his feet (‘getting smashed’ is colloquial Australian-English for binge drinking) there are repeated moments of tension and drama as the artists physical well-being is threatened and his resolve tested. In this context, Untitled (Clean Skin) appears as a metaphor for the spectacle of risk taking behaviour that is rite of passage among young men in this culture and the decadence and discursive nature of their actions.